They who stroll around town belligerently drunk risk being arrested for public intoxication, but what if they are on their own private property?
Public intoxication defined
Utah Code 76-9-701 states “A person is guilty of [public] intoxication if the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, to a degree that the person may endanger the person or another, in a public place or in a private place where the person unreasonably disturbs other persons.”
If someone is intoxicated on their private property but is being loud enough to disturb their neighbors, they can be charged with public intoxication. What about those who wish to drink quietly in their front yard, never disturbing others? This is a gray area which a few have fought in court and won recently. There are a couple ways to help in prevent cases such as these.
Fenced private property with signs
If the general public can enter a yard or porch without having to open a gate, many law enforcement officers agree that the property therefore becomes public, since anyone can access it. If a fence with a gate is placed around the property with signs stating that it is private, that can help distinguish the property as not being public, and can make public intoxication charges harder to stick.
Keep it down
Even if a yard is fenced, a loud party with several drunken friends is likely to get the police called. By keeping things quiet, those in a party who venture outside to possibly have a smoke or to get some fresh air will be noticed less by neighbors. For those facing public intoxication while they were on their own private property, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss if the charges are just.